Monday, June 18, 2012

Recyling Images: Warhol and Basquiat Olympic Art

Between 1983 and 1985, Basquiat and Warhol did a series of collaborative works. The 1984 Olympic games inspired this piece, which will be used as official art during the London games of 2012. Some say the two became somewhat co-dependent on each other during this period. As by then, Warhol's star was waning and Basquiat's was just rising. Still the interesting mix of "ready-made" iconography with oppositional graffiti was powerful. Get more-- Artlyst.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Eco Fashion: Dine in a Dress Made (YES!) From Wine

     Kudos for the University of Australia for coming up with this concept: In the future ladies, your dress may form itself right on your body without needing a stitch! And it's all thanks to a biological fermentation process that allows living microbes to produce fabric. These Aussy researchers for this process are even looking at ways to create alternate colors since they know the red color won't do for every girl. So far they have only come up with clear from beer or white wine, but they will most likely work that out as they tend to a few other "bugs. For example, unless you like a fine French "bouquet," you and your significant other won't enjoy that the fabric will smell like the vintage that created it.  And for heaven's sake don't get caught in the rain! When wet, these dresses will turn to sludge.

     On the up side, provided you do like wine aroma and live in southern Califtornia, where it hardly rains, or some other agreeable clime, this may be the (future) look for you. Says Bioalloy, makers of the--uh, stuff--they have named micro"be": "Instead of lifeless weaving maching producing the textile," it will all happen with living microbes.

     They have set out to explore, they say, the possible forms and implications of futuristic dressmaking and textile technologies.While the idea of a bacterial fermented seemless garment may seem like an alien concept, it will certainly "rupture the the meaning of traditional interactions with body and clothing."

Monday, June 11, 2012

Makey Makey: Computerize your Bananas into Bongos, Baby

...or even just piano keys.      Two 32-year graduate students--Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum--created the cool  Makey Makey device at the MIT Media Lab in Boston, Massachusetts.

     Their Kickstarter funding page (ending June 12) has got them 10,491 backers, netting them a war chest of over a half million at this writing!  But the pair wants their invention to be affordable, so they intend to sell Makey Makey for just around $35.

     The invention's name derives from Make + Key, and the product basically uses alligator clips, a USB connector, and a circuit board that can turn nearly anything with only a whiff of electronic charge (like gummies, cats, dogs or staircases) into a touch pad capable of typing, surfing the net, playing video games or music. Yes, you can even turn you and your friends into human synthesizers! The circuit board (which can be flipped and used on either side) is manufactured at Sparkfun, a company in Boulder, Colorado.

     Get more information click here or look on Silver and Rosenbaum's website.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Eat This / Strange Fruit

500 species of odd ball fruit reside at Miami-Dade County's Fruit and Spice Park in Florida. Bearing names that sound like characters in a future Luke Skywalker film--Antidesmas, Rollinas, and Ruskams--these plants are not only here and now, but some can be sampled on site. One to try: Black Sponte. It tastes like (not chicken ;-) chocolate pudding! If you visit the park, consider making it an all day outing; take lots of folks with you including grandma and the kids. We're talkin' 37 acres of natural weirdness, people. On your stroll, you'll enjoy over 160 varieties of mango trees, 75 varieties of bananas and other "exotic wonders." Get your marching orders from the park's visitors center. And this fruity space is the only one of its kind in the U.S.A., so don't be bashful. Get your full daily dose.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Jody Noble Choder: Raising the Roost in Pittsburgh, PA

For 2013 Info Click here!
We've all been taught about the greatest historical "movements": Civil Rights, Women's Rights, and even Beethoven's Fifth. But a chicken movement? Oh, yeah! It's the hottest, new trend and it's coming to a back yard near you. Consider the case of Jody Noble Choder, an urban chicken farmer in the Highland Park community of Pittsburgh, PA.

     Choder, has a normal job as a respected corporate attorney. She never really had it in her mind to raise chickens. However, with roots in Lower Burrell, Pennsylvania, she did consider herself a country bred girl with a dark secret.

     "To tell you the truth, when I hit my teenage years, I couldn't wait to get out to the city, " Choder admitted. "I wanted the bright lights, the wide sidewalks; all of that." And so, years later, after starting her legal career and getting married, she and her husband, Steve moved to Pittsburgh and into the Point Breeze community where after only a year into the renovation of their new home, Jody Noble Choder found a better house, a quiet place with a big yard, plenty of flora and fauna; up against the Highland Park damn. It would become the best of all possible worlds for her. 

     Said Choder, "You can take the girl out of the country, but not the country out of the girl. Well, it didn't stop there. Next thing I knew, I was watching Martha Stewart's TV show, putting in vegetable and French potager garden; building raised bed and gravel paths."

     No one can deny that Martha Stewart makes country living look more than incredible. When the lifestyle diva ran a story on raising chickens, Choder was smitten. She ran the idea of getting some young peeps past her husband. He was no instant Martha fan. He would only agree with the plan, if they built their own chicken coop, to save the expense. It was only much later that the couple realized they didn't have the carpentry skills to do it right.

     "We bought a dog house from Lowes and tried to retro fit it. The problem is we forgot about the door." The first spring their young peeps where killed by weasels, who lived near the damn. Choder refused to accept failure, but vowed not to bring another peep into the house, until they had their act together. 

     The second year, the Choders went back to To Lambert's Tack and Feed in Butler, PA, determined to get more peeps, and raise a better roost. With only a few more setbacks--young ducklings they purchased "disappeared," possibly met with foul play--the Choders soon became worthy of the title: Urban chicken farmers. They purchased a heat lamp and kept it and the young peeps on their sun porch to warm the downy birds so they could safely "feather out." They learned they had to harden them off, much like plants before the peeps could be placed outdoors. They perused every chicken raising catalogue and magazine known to man. Sure, they could build a better dog house, but it still wasn't a chicken coop. Before long, they spied an amazing Amish built chicken domicile.

     "Our chickens went from humble Section 8 housing to a five-star mansion," Choder said. The new coop had automatic doors, heated roots to warm their feet, special in-door lighting, nesting boxes, and an easy-clean floor. "Our hens must have felt like they hit the chicken lottery!"  The Choders then dubbed their feather friends with names. Now in addition to their dog, two cats and pond fish, there was Gregory Peck, a rooster; Buffy the Worm Slayer, Attila the Hen, Hillary Rodham Chicken, Princess Lay-a, and finally (who could resist it?) Mother Clucker.

     By six degrees of separation, the Choders began find other urban chicken farmers. the network grew through friends and friends of friends. By 2010 the group wanted to host the city's first self-guided coop tour. The plans were somewhat hampered when they learned the City of Pittsburgh was looking to create a chicken ordinance that required a zoning variance. However, by the next year the dust settled and the tour could be planned. And so, with four east end coops and four on the Northside, the first Urban Chicken Coop Tour was launched.

     "We expected some success, but for a first year event, the interest was phenomenal! We had over 450 people attend coming from Uniontown, West Virginia and as far away as Ohio." The numbers included a diverse range of men, women and children. At a price of only $5 for adults and children for free, the tour had great family appeal. The event even made the front page of the Wall Street Journal.

     Choder added simply: "People want to know where their food is coming from. It's an opportunity for parents to teach their kids something, and everyone wants to eat healthier." Tour-goers also got to see a variety of yard set-ups, and exchange chicken farming tips." It seemed not a single person went away lacking information.

     One of the surprise hits of the tour were the tee-shirts designed by Jason Sauer, owner of Most Wanted Fine Art, a gallery and Yoga spot on Penn Avenue. The tees were emblazoned with the caption: Chicks In The Hood. They quickly sold out. Proceeds from the the tour were donated to the Urban Food Bank.

     "Chickens are lot like potato chips; you can't have just one," explained Jody Noble Choder. Still, she hasn't gone down the crazy chicken slope, like a friend of hers (who shall remain nameless). She only maintains five chickens."The treatment of the birds by most urban farmers is very humane. The birds aren't injected with chemicals, they are free range, and we give them organic feed." The Choders raise a kinder, gentler chicken. The eggs the hens produce are given away to friends and even neighborhood restaurants like Salt, which have offered trade in return.

     "Some people are surprised by what we do, but I don't know why," said Choder. "People use to raise chickens in the city all the time, before it fell out of favor. It's such a good and holistic practice. It's nice to have some control over what you eat."

Take your Dad to see some Chicks this Fathers’ Day!


2nd Annual Pittsburgh Urban Chicken Coop Tour

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Recycling Mick Jagger is a Good Thing

While a good portion of the world was freezing it's keisters off  this winter, the White House was having a hot time in the old town with who else but--Mick Jagger! We just came out of our winter doldrums to find this little gem belatedly posted on Mick's Facebook page. We're only one of over 172,000 fans, who visits there every once in while in the hopes that Mick might give us something epic. Even the thought that he's browsing a computer from time to time is kind of surreal. But seeing the still-mighty, Mick who at 69 can still high kick and get Prez Obama and First Lady Michelle rockin' is enough to make us stand up and clap and probably lift every baby-boomer, couch potato too. Mick has made 22 albums in 45 years with the Rolling Stones--a title the band picked up from blue's man Muddy Waters-- and they earned over 437 million on their last tour earning them a place in the Guinness World Records. Mick just keeps coming back, and back and back...and bringing it!